Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court sentenced an antique store owner to seven years in prison Tuesday for smuggling 2.98 million yuan ($486,150) worth of items made of ivory and rhinoceros horn into the country.
The antique dealer, Dong Fengrong, was carrying 14 ivory figures, four white rhinoceros horns and three items made of rhinoceros horn in his luggage when arrived in Shanghai on January 23.
Dong, who is in his 60s, testified that he purchased the items in France for about 180,000 yuan in total, but could not provide evidence to show that he bought them from licensed dealers.
He also said that he didn't know the law prohibited people from transporting items made from endangered animals into the country until he was detained by police.
He had been to France seven or eight times, he said. Usually, he would bring back porcelain items, but this time he returned with goods made of ivory and rhinoceros horn.
He said he bought the items for his personal collection and to give as gifts to friends. He never intended to sell them.
"He had his own business, so he didn't need to make a living doing this," his lawyer said in court.
However, the prosecutor pointed out that Dong told police during the investigation that he bought the items to sell.
The court ruled that Dong brought back the items with the intension of selling them.